22 Nov North Essex holiday home crowned best quirky property in national awards
Local holiday home owner, James Waters, has been crowned a winner in Sykes Holiday Cottages’ nationwide search to find Britain’s best holiday lets.
The awards saw holiday home owners from across the UK competing to be crowned the winner of several categories, including Best Renovation, Best Quirky Holiday Let, Best Sustainable Holiday Let, Best Interior Design and Best View.
James was awarded the top prize in the Best Quirky Property category for his converted 1880s Railway Carriage located near Greenstead Green in Essex.
James, a Deputy Environmental Manager and antiques dealer from North Essex, originally bought The Carriage in 2016 after spotting it storing car parts in a garden, transporting it back to his home by crane and lorry.
Working with his father on the renovation, the pair enlisted the help of local plumbers, electricians and painters to bring the carriage into the 21st century, completing the works during lockdown while James was on furlough.
The Carriage, which opened to holiday makers last summer, has maintained many original features, such as appearing on wheels, rail track and sleepers, while also having luxury elements fitted to keep guests comfortable.
James will receive a £500 cash prize as well as free consultancy and advice from the experts at Sykes.
The expert judging panel included Deputy Property Editor of The Times and Sunday Times Carol Lewis, The Holiday Let Success podcaster Elaine Watt and Sykes’ Chief Executive Officer Graham Donoghue.
Properties were judged on a number of factors, including customer reviews, location and facilities on offer. Judges were also asked to consider if each property would be the first choice for holidaymakers looking for a staycation.
Sykes’ Britain’s Best Holiday Let competition was launched to inspire holiday let owners and celebrate excellence in holiday cottage accommodation across the country.
Graham Donoghue, CEO at Sykes Holiday Cottages said: “These awards don’t just showcase the very best of Britain’s holiday lets, they also highlight the hard work that goes into holiday letting across the UK to make Britain’s staycation market the success it is today.
“The Carriage at High Barn Heritage was certainly a worthy winner of our Most Quirky prize. It beat off tough competition but it is clear to see that this holiday let is nothing short of first class accommodation!”
James Waters, owner of The Carriage at High Barn Heritage said: “Renovating The Carriage was a real passion project for my father and I last year. Since opening we’ve constantly received great feedback from our visitors, but an award like this really does mean a lot.
“The process was challenging at times, but it has all been completely worth it to meet guests from across the UK enjoying this special property. From train enthusiasts to couples looking for something unique, I love getting to know those who come to stay and the whole experience has been really rewarding.”